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Album Review: Earth Diver by Cormorant


a2140768649_2When take a gander at some of the reasons some of my favorite bands have remained my favorite bands over the course of decades one reason always seems to take the forefront.  The ability to grow and evolve, not afraid to make dramatic changes, while remaining true to a core sound or style that initial made me a super-fan in the first place.  These kind of bands give me something to look forward from release to release as I know I am going to get lots of new alleyways and avenues to explore.  They keep their career fresh and I get a variety of albums to listen to (unlike just more or less needing a single album that sums up the bands catalog) all with different experiences contained within.

Enter Cormorant.  A couple of years ago when they released their sophomore album Dwellings my ears picked up on the unique blend of blackened prog rock tinged with hints of classic metal and instantly became a super-fan of the Bay Area band.  As par for the course, since I liked their current record so much I ponied up the cash for the back catalog expecting more of the same that was on Dwellings.  To my delight, their debut album Metazoa was a much different beast than the record I was spinning ad nauseam, yet was still very much a Cormorant affair.  They just needed a third record to prove they were the real deal and not just a fluke and they were pretty much guaranteed a spot in my coveted Realm of Upper Echelon Bands.  I was very much hoping this would happen.  Then tragedy struck; Arthur Von Nagal, the bands front man, lyricist, vocalist, bassist, and major songwriter contribute made the decision to leave the band to pursue in a career of video game development (FYI, that really freaking awesome Walking Dead game that won all them awards, he was on that team.  Go play games made by TellTale, their all great!).

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Roundtable Review: Sonus Mortis – Propaganda Dream Sequence


00_DigipakPhotosLabel:  Unsigned

Release Date:  1 Mar 2014

Songs:   11

Length:  63 Minutes

Genre:  Doom/Symphonic/Atmospheric

Studio Albums:   This is their Debut

Location:  Dublin, Ireland

WarpRider – Unsigned?  What shame!  I like the more melodic approach to this death/doom/atmospheric metal 1-piece act.  Often, these individual subgenres can be extreme, but under the right circumstances, together can be beautiful deathly hallowed music.  Sonus Mortis (the one guy); hit the nail with the hammer.  3.8 

Atleastimhousebroken – Neat-O album (horrible album art though.  Drop me a line, I’ll MS Paint you a masterpiece next time ;) ).  Went in expecting a Fleshgod Apocolypse/Septic Flesh rip off, left thinking that this album is near equal both those bands best albums.  While songs can meander here and there, the songwriting and performance is superb and packs a heavy punch when called for.  The vocals deserve special mention as they have that gut-rumbling quality I look for in my growly guy vocals. 4.0

Irmelinis – It was surprising to find out that this is a one-person-project. It’s pretty impressive considering this is an album packed with high quality songs and superb songwriting, in the same vein as Therion, Septic Flesh and at times even reminiscent of Devin Townsend. Recommended! 3.5

ChristopherMammal – This solo project by Kevin Byrne delivers the best blackened death-type music I’ve heard in a while. I’m sure my endorphin count went up to “Level: Bliss” while this album was playing. The overall impact is a smooth deluge of sound. But listen to the individual instrumental components – there’s an ocean of frigging good variation and skill, washing over you in swirls and drawing you in like a maelstrom. The same goes for the vocals, which span deep gutturals, higher-pitched growling, clean singing and gruff narration in an Irish accent. And all that from just one guy… fantastic job, Mister Byrne. 4.5

A Metal State of Mind Score – 4 out of 5 

Roundtable Review: Slaveatgod – The Skyline Fission


cover artLabel:  No Regrets Records

Release Date:  31 Mar 2014

Songs:   8

Length:  33 Minutes

Genre:  Progressive/Djent

Studio Albums:   This is their second full-length album

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Roundtable Review: Between the Madness by VanGough


a0236553750_2Label:  Nightmare Records

Release Date:  Out Now

Songs:   12

Genre:  Prog

Studio Albums:  This is their 5th release

Location:  Oklahoma, USA Read the rest of this entry

Round Table Review: The Mother of Virtue by Pyrrhon


12 Jacket (Gatefold - Two Pocket) [GD30OB2-N]Label: Relapse Records

Release Date: Out Now

Songs: 9

Genre: Tech-Deth

Studio Albums: This is their 3rd album

Location: NY, USA

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Streams of the Week: Metazoa and Dwellings by Cormorant


band_logoI know I haven’t held back my love for the Californian prog metal band Cormorant ’round these parts.  So it should also be no surprise that I’m well-hyped for the release of their 3rd full length album, Earth Diver, next week.  In preparation for the new album, I decided to give their past material a good listen to better hear how they evolve into the new record.  I popped them in last week and pretty much nothing else has found its way into my ears since, especially the album Metazoa.

When I first heard Cormorant it was right around the time the hype machine was promoing their 2nd full length Dwellings and I instantly fell in love with the album.  From the heady lyrics to endlessly engaging musical compositions it has become an album I listen to more than regularly and has been aging more than well, getting better with each listen.  Unfortunately, while I still owned Metazoa, I never gave it the attention I gave Dwellings and therefore was never really firmly grasped by just how freaking outstanding it is.  Revisiting it in a more lucid state has allowed me appreciate how terrific and unique it is.

Compared to Dwellings, Metazoa has a folkier, more aquatic feel compared to the raw and earthen sensation I get from the former.  Tracks like ‘Uneasy Lie the Head’ bleed that battle feeling I get while listening to bands like Moonsorrow and strong melodies heard on tracks like ‘Blood on the Cornfields’ have an almost Iron Maiden goes death metal touch to them.  Seriously every track on the record is diverse and filled with power and passion.  And the same could be said about Dwellings from the horror it weaves with the retelling of a genocide (based on a true story) in ‘Junta’ or the terror of being lost in outerspace on the tune ‘Unearthly Dreamings’ (which at the same time paints a picture of beauty and wonder).

Pretty much, if you dig on prog metal bands like Opeth and want something in the same vein that is wholly original I behoove you to dig into Cormorant.  If you find yourself digging on these albums, you should totally get them (they are ‘pay what you want’ so free if you are really strapped for cash, but I highly recommend the physical CDs as the art and packaging are outstanding and well above par for your average CD release) and pre-order the new one so it’s ready to go next Tuesday.  Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Roundtable Review: Reflections by Ferium


Reflections CoverLabel: Transcend

Release Date:  Apr. 7th, 2014

Genre:  Groove/Death Metal

Studio Albums: This is their debut

Location:  Haifa, Israel

Recommended for fans of: Lamb of God, Pantera, Black Dahlia Murder

 

 

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Stream of the Week: Ringworm – Hammer of the Witch


How it that a band like Ringworm passes me by unnoticed?  Just when I feel I am broadening my horizons in metal to the nth degree, awesome bands just appear out of nowhere.  Except, they aren’t from nowhere.  They are from Cleveland.  That’s somewhere.  I know it is because I have driven through there like four times – never stopped.  Perhaps it’s all about marketing because I just checked, I am not living under a rock.  Anyway, if their Relapse Records debut album, Hammer of the Witch, doesn’t inspire chair throwing before 1:18 into Dawn of Decay, then I don’t know what to say about you except that you probably like Nickelback.

Their release date, 18 March 2014, kind of came and went like any other day.  Then I started seeing all these posts about the band as it soon appeared in our own inbox.  I figure it’s worth checking out.  To make a long pointless story short, it’s a killer mix of everything great about groove, hardcore, thrash, and death metal.  The vocals are intense, yet mostly coherent which is not always important, but nice when you can make out more than a few words.  Seriously, if I needed to hire someone to yell at my kids to get them to go to bed on time, I would hire this guy.  Listen and you will see why.

Overall, the album is pretty f’n solid; fifteen tracks of break neck, throw something across the room viciousness.  Enjoy!

Round-Table Review: Pray to the Devil in Man by Dread Sovereign


LP-Gatefold TemplateLabel: Van Records

Release Date:  Out Now

Genre:  Doom/Sludge

Studio Albums: This is their debut

Location:  Dublin, Ireland

Recommended for fans of: Primordial, Candlemass, Manilla Road, Sunn O)))

 

 

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Does It Hold Up: Opeth Edition


opeth-logo-pretoI thought I’d try to do something new here.  Since I’ve become a curmudgeon of an old grandpa with new music lately and have been spending my time enjoying the metric fuckton of music I’ve accumulated over the years I thought it would be a good idea to revisit some of the more historied bands catalogs and see how they hold up years later now that the hype and initial impact is gone.  I’ll be looking at how often I’ve found myself revisiting the records, which songs/albums may have lost me or grown on me, if an album has been rendered obsolete by the artists later works, etc.

Today I’ll be taking the easy route and looking at one of my all time favorite bands, Opeth, and seeing how they hold up in the decade plus amount of time I’ve been following the band (they pretty much all do).  Enjoy!!!!  Peace Love and Metal!!!!

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